MADISON, Wis. — A federal judge in Wisconsin ruled Wednesday that a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the father of a man shot to death by Kyle Rittenhouse during a 2020 protest may proceed against Rittenhouse, police and others.

The father of Anthony Huber, one of the two men shot to death by Rittenhouse, filed the lawsuit in 2021, accusing officers of enabling a dangerous situation that violated his son’s constitutional rights and resulted in his death. Anthony Huber’s father, John Huber, also alleged that Rittenhouse, who was 17 at the time of the shooting, conspired with police to harm protesters. John Huber is seeking unspecified damages from city officials, officers, and Rittenhouse.

US District Judge Lynn Adelman on Wednesday dismissed motions filed by Rittenhouse and government defendants seeking to dismiss the civil rights lawsuit.

Allowing the case against Rittenhouse and the others to proceed, the judge said Anthony Huber’s death «could plausibly be regarded as directly caused by the actions of the governmental defendants.»

Rittenhouse’s attorney, Shane Martin, said in a telephone interview that it is important to note that the ruling does not address the merits of the case, only allows it to move to the next phase.

«While we respect the judge’s decision, we do not believe there is evidence of a conspiracy and we are certain, as found by a Kenosha jury, Kyle’s actions that night were not unfair and were carried out in self-defense,» he said. Martin.

John Huber’s lawyers and private investigators spent more than 100 hours trying to track down Rittenhouse, tracing addresses in seven states before finding his mother and sister’s home in Florida. The lawsuit was served on Rittenhouse’s sister, who said he was not home. Adelman said that was enough to qualify as served.

Rittenhouse had argued that the case against him should be dismissed because he was not properly served with the lawsuit. Adelman dismissed that, saying that Rittenhouse «is almost certainly dodging service.»

«Rittenhouse has been deliberately cautious about his whereabouts,» Adelman wrote. «Although he denies living in Florida, he does not identify where he considers his residence.»

Attorneys for law enforcement and the defendant government officials did not immediately return emails seeking comment.

The ruling brings the family of Anthony Huber «one step closer to justice for the needless death of their son,» said Anand Swaminathan, one of the lawyers for parents John Huber and Karen Bloom.

“The Kenosha officials who created a tinderbox situation with their actions attempted to assert that they cannot be held accountable for their unconstitutional conduct; that argument was roundly rejected today,» Swaminathan said in a statement.

Rittenhouse was charged with murder, attempted murder and reckless endangerment for killing Anthony Huber and Joseph Rosenbaum and wounding a third person with an AR-style semi-automatic rifle in the summer of 2020 during a tumultuous night of protests over the shooting of a black man. . , Jacob Blake, by a white Kenosha police officer.

Rittenhouse was cleared of all charges in November 2021 after testifying that he acted in self-defense. Rittenhouse’s actions became a flashpoint in the debate over guns, vigilantism, and racial injustice in the US.

Rittenhouse came to Kenosha from his home in nearby Antioch, Ill., after businesses were looted and burned in the nights after Blake was shot. He joined other armed civilians in the streets, carrying a gun that authorities say was illegally purchased for him because he was a minor.

Rittenhouse first killed Rosenbaum, 36, in a car dealership parking lot and when Rittenhouse ran from the scene, he tripped and fell. Anthony Huber, 26, hit Rittenhouse with his skateboard and tried to disarm him. Rittenhouse fell to the ground, fatally shooting Anthony Huber and wounding 27-year-old protester Gaige Grosskreutz.

This case is one of several ongoing civil lawsuits filed in the aftermath of the shootings. Grosskreutz filed a similar lawsuit against Rittenhouse last year.

Rittenhouse has maintained a high public profile, particularly on social media, where he is an outspoken advocate for the right to bear arms. He has nearly 1 million followers on Twitter and has spoken at conservative rallies.